Resources Contact Us Home
Browse by: INVENTOR PATENT HOLDER PATENT NUMBER DATE
 
 
Method for improving thermal process steps
6706616 Method for improving thermal process steps
Patent Drawings:Drawing: 6706616-2    
« 1 »

(1 images)

Inventor: Kegel, et al.
Date Issued: March 16, 2004
Application: 09/914,749
Filed: January 14, 2002
Inventors: Kegel; Wilhelm (Langebrueck, DE)
Schuster; Thomas (Dresden, DE)
Assignee: Infineon Technologies AG (Munich, DE)
Primary Examiner: Nelms; David
Assistant Examiner: Le; Dung
Attorney Or Agent: Fish & Richardson P.C.
U.S. Class: 257/E21.285; 438/452; 438/762; 438/763
Field Of Search: 438/452; 438/762; 438/763; 438/770; 438/771; 438/772; 438/773; 438/443; 438/439; 438/297; 438/305; 438/689; 438/778; 438/769; 438/783
International Class:
U.S Patent Documents: 5637528; 5972779
Foreign Patent Documents: 99 03141
Other References: Moslehi, M.M., "Single-wafer optical processing of semiconductors: Thin insulator growth for intgrated electronic device applications",Applied Physics A (Solids and Surfaces), Aug. 1988, vol. A46, No. 4, pp. 255-273..
Internation Search Report..









Abstract: A method for controlling temperature of a semiconductor wafer in a process chamber includes heating the chamber from a starting temperature to a stabilizing temperature at a heating rate of approximately 12 degrees Celsius per second and maintaining the chamber at the stabilizing temperature for a selected stabilization period. The chamber is then heated from the stabilizing temperature to a process temperature at a heating rate of approximately 10 degrees Celsius per second. This process temperature is maintained for a selected processing period. After the period, the chamber is cooled to an exit temperature at a selected low cooling rate.
Claim: What is claimed is:

1. A method for improving a thermal process step in the patterning of a semiconductor wafer, in which the wafer, in a process chamber, is heated to a process temperature at apredetermined heating rate and, after a selected process time has elapsed, is cooled at a predetermined cooling rate, wherein the wafer is heated at a heating rate of approximately 12.degree. C./sec up to a stabilization step at a stabilizationtemperature of approximately 120 degrees below the process temperature, and then up to the process temperature at a heating rate of 10.degree. C./sec and, after the process time has elapsed, is cooled down to room temperature at a predetermined lowcooling rate.

2. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the thermal process step is a rapid thermal processing process during an oxidation.

3. The method as claimed in claim 2, wherein the stabilization temperature is 1000.degree. C.

4. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wafer is cooled at a cooling rate of approximately 20.degree. C./sec.

5. The method as claimed in claim 4, wherein the wafer, at least in the temperature range in which wafer distortions can occur, is cooled at the cooling rate of approximately 20.degree. C./sec from the process temperature to 120.degree. belowthe process temperature and is then cooled at a lower cooling rate.

6. A method for controlling temperature of a semiconductor wafer in a process chamber, said method comprising: heating said chamber from a starting temperature to a stabilizing temperature at a heating rate of approximately 12 degrees Celsiusper second; maintaining said chamber at said stabilizing temperature for a selected stabilization period; heating said chamber from said stabilizing temperature to a process temperature at a heating rate of approximately 10 degrees Celsius per second; maintaining said chamber at said process temperature for a selected processing period; and cooling said chamber from said process temperature to an exit temperature at a selected low cooling rate.

7. The method of claim 6, further comprising selecting said stabilizing temperature to be approximately 89 percent of said process temperature.

8. The method of claim 6, further comprising selecting said stabilizing temperature to be approximately 120 degrees Celsius below said process temperature.

9. The method of claim 8, further comprising selecting said stabilizing temperature to be approximately 1000 degrees Celsius.

10. The method of claim 6, wherein cooling said chamber comprises selecting said cooling rate to be approximately 20 degrees Celsius per second.

11. The method of claim 6, wherein cooling said chamber comprises cooling said chamber at a first cooling rate until said chamber is at a critical temperature above which wafer distortions can occur, and cooling said chamber at a second coolingrate between said critical temperature and an exit temperature, said second cooling rate being lower than said first cooling rate.

12. The method of claim 6, wherein cooling said chamber comprises selecting said exit temperature to be approximately 600 degrees Celsius.

13. The method of claim 6, further comprising shortening a flushing step to an extent such that said process chamber is sufficiently flushed with process gas.
Description: FIELD OF INVENTION

The invention relates to a method for improving thermal process steps in the patterning of semiconductor wafers, in particular in rapid thermal processing (RTP) processes preferably during AA (active area) oxidation, sacrificial oxidation, and GC(gate conductor) sidewall oxidation.

BACKGROUND

The oxides produced in these process steps are used, on the one hand, as screen oxides for the well implantations and, on the other hand, as an intermediate layer for reducing mechanical stress. The oxidation steps take place in a processchamber at relatively high process temperatures, with the result that the wafers are exposed to considerable thermal loading during these process steps, in particular in the case of high heating and cooling rates. The wafers are heated up to astabilization step at 750.degree. C., for example at 50.degree. C./sec, and then up to the process temperature at a heating rate of 46.degree. C./sec in the case of AA oxidation. The cooling rate may be 50.degree. C./sec in the upper temperaturerange.

What are problematic are, in particular, the RTP processes in AA oxidation, sacrificial oxidation and in GC sidewall oxidation. The integrated gate stack, in particular, reacts sensitively to high heating rates.

The thermal loading occurring in this case can lead to lateral wafer distortions which result in uncorrectable positional errors of the structure planes lying one above the other, in particular of the contact hole planer. Positional errors abovethe other, in particular of the contact hole planes. Positional errors of this type did not occur with the hitherto customary structure widths of significantly more than 0.25 mm and the wafer material used.

With technologies of 0.25 mm for large scale integrated memory components, such positional errors in the contact hole planes, which also lead to DC yield losses, are no longer acceptable and can lead to significant losses of yield or even to thetotal functional incapability of entire batches.

SUMMARY

The invention is therefore based on the object of providing a method for improving thermal process steps in which the disadvantages described above are avoided.

In the case of a method of the type mentioned in the introduction, the formulation of the object on which the invention is based is achieved by virtue of the fact that the wafer is heated at a heating rate of approximately 12.degree. C./sec upto a brief stabilization step at constant temperature and then up to the envisaged process temperature at a heating rate of 10.degree. C./sec and, after the process time has elapsed, is cooled down to room temperature at a predetermined low coolingrate.

The stabilization step is preferably raised to a temperature of 120.degree. C. below the process temperature and is 1000.degree. C., for example.

With the reduction of the heating rate and the shifting of the stabilization temperature from hitherto 750.degree. C. to 120.degree. C. below the process temperature, the temperature response is homogenized over the wafer. As a result, waferdistortions no longer occur. oxidation processes, i.e. during AA oxidation, sacrificial oxidation and GC sidewall oxidation.

In a continuation of the invention, the wafer is cooled at a cooling rate of approximately 20.degree. C./sec in the high-temperature range. This prevents wafer distortions from being able to occur during cooling.

Preferably, the wafer, at least in the temperature range in which wafer distortions can occur, is cooled at the cooling rate of approximately 20.degree. C./sec from the process temperature to 120.degree. below the process temperature.

Furthermore, it is advantageous if the flushing step at the start of the recipe is reduced to an extent such that the chamber is still sufficiently flushed with process gas and the cooling step at the end of the recipe is reduced to an extentsuch that the exit temperature is 600.degree. C., with the overall result that the process time is reduced.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The invention will be explained in more detail below using an exemplary embodiment in connection with the FIGURE, a temperature profile for AA oxidation being illustrated in the associated FIGURE of the drawing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The wafer is heated in a process chamber proceeding from room temperature R at a heating rate of 12.degree. C./sec up to the stabilization step S, which is fixed at 120.degree. C. below the process temperature P to be reached, that is to say at1000.degree. C. in the example. The time period of the stabilization step is a few seconds.

Further heating to the process temperature of 1120.degree. C. us effected at a heating rate of 10.degree. C./sec.

Raising the stabilization step to 120.degree. C. below the process temperature and reducing the heating rates has the errors in the contact hole planes are at any rate eliminated by the method according to the invention. The consequence is aconsiderable improvement in the yield and a reduction of the DC yield losses by 7-10%, the outlay concerning the change of recipes of the RTP processes being very low.

* * * * *
 
 
  Recently Added Patents
Data modulation for groups of memory cells
Semiconductor memory device
Method and system for the assignment of security group information using a proxy
Method and apparatus for reducing cost of optical amplification in a network
Optical article comprising a temporary anti-fogging coating with improved durability
Feature-based autocorrection
Electronic device package and fabrication method thereof
  Randomly Featured Patents
Conveyor assembly with selectively movable zones
Ad-hoc network routing protocol including the use of forward and reverse multi-point relay (MPR) spanning tree routes
Slug pulling preventing tooling die
Membrane attachment process
Color photographic recording material for the production of color images
Systems and methods for improving FFT signal-to-noise ratio by identifying stage without bit growth
Air bag device with an inflator mounting structure
Method of processing polyethylene terephthalate preforms and apparatus
Hybrid seam carving and scaling of images with configurable carving tolerance
Portable human height measuring device